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Widespread mould causing ‘health disaster’ in remote First Nation, MP says

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MP Charlie Angus says he is “shaken up” after visiting a remote First Nation in northern Ontario, where seemingly every home has mould and more than half of them need to be replaced. 

“What we’re seeing is a full-on health disaster,” Angus, the NDP MP for Timmins–James Bay, told CBC News.  “The mould is wreaking havoc with the lives of the people in this community.” 

Angus visited Cat Lake First Nation, which is some 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, on Tuesday. 

“We were in homes that should have been demolished years ago where little children were living in — with the cold coming up under the floor, mould all along the walls,” he said. 

Inspections of all 128 homes in the community found “mold, or the indication of mold… present in all dwellings inspected,” according to a report by two independent contracting and environmental companies, obtained by CBC News. 

The report recommended 87 homes “be entirely replaced” due to this and other problems. 

“Nobody should be living in these houses is what we’re told.” said Derek Spence, a Cat Lake councillor.

Inspections of all 128 homes in the community found ‘mold, or the indication of mold… present in all dwellings inspected,’ according to a report by two independent contracting and environmental companies. (Submitted by Charlie Angus)

Spence says there are regular medical evacuations from the community due to the exposure to mould. Last week, an 11-year-old boy was evacuated to a hospital in London, Ont., due to a severe skin problem.

“Young children and elders are the most affected … Some of some of our people have gained long-term illnesses because of air they breathe,” he said. 

Spence says the community is asking the federal government to provide temporary housing for those in immediate need. They also are asking Ottawa to invest in a three-year plan to repair or replace all of the homes in the community.

Common side-effects from exposure to mould include respiratory ailments like asthma, according to David Miller, a professor and researcher at Carlton University who studies the effects of mould on human health. 

Miller says, although rare, allergies to mould can also cause skin conditions.

Signs of skin condition are seen on an 11-year old boy who, last week, was evacuated to London, Ont., for medical care. (Submitted by Charlie Angus)

Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan says senior department officials are scheduled to talk with community leaders on Thursday. 

“We’re accelerating those short-term repairs to houses that we can do, and in the long term we’re working on houses strategy for the community.” O’Regan told reporters in Ottawa. 

O’Regan said in an earlier news released that, in the last year, Indigenous Services Canada provided funding for the housing inspection reports and for a seven-unit housing complex in Cat Lake. That unit is incomplete, however. 

O’Regan also said “years of neglect and underfunding have left many Indigenous communities facing significant housing gaps.”

Spence says underfunding is at the root of the mould crisis.

“The funding that we get from the government is not enough to buy the high quality material to be able to sustain the climate that we have in our area. We can’t hire qualified carpenters to come in and build these houses,” he said. 

Spence and the council hope that concrete government help arrives soon. The temporary housing they say they need will need to be brought in on a winter road that — depending on weather — may only be open for another month.

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Ottawa Book Expo 2020 – Authors, Publishers look forward to a top-notch Canadian book fair

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Diversity has always been a complex issue, no matter where you look.Case in point, world-famous writer, Stephen King, has recently come under criticism for his views on diversity. The best-selling author had stated, “I would never consider diversity in matters of art, only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.” Many criticized the novelist as being out of touch and “ignorant,” but one cannot deny that King’s opinions on diversity, mirror the thoughts of a whole lot of people in the creative industry.

The Toronto Book Expo is coming back in 2020, with a multi-cultural concept that aims to include marginalized authors.  The Expo intends to celebrate literary works of diverse cultural backgrounds, and the entire literary community in Canada is expectant. Book-lovers and writers alike, are invited to three days of uninhibited literary celebration where diverse cultural works will be prioritized. At the event, authors will be allowed to share their culture with a broad audience. The audience will be there specifically to purchase multi-cultural works.

Multicultural literary expos do not come every day. In Canada, there is a noticeable lack of literary events celebrating other cultures. This leads to a significantly lower amount of cultural diversity in the industry. The Toronto Book Expo would aim at giving more recognition to these marginalized voices. Understandably, more recognizable work will be prioritized.

The Toronto Book Expo is making a statement that diversity is needed in the literary community. The statement is truly motivating, especially if you consider the fact that this could mean more culturally diverse works of literature.

There is a lot of noticeable cultural ignorance in literature. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and books are one of the best means of improving multi-cultural diversity in literature. The Toronto Book Expo is going to fully utilize books to fight ignorance in the literary industry.

Real progress cannot be made if there is a substantial amount of ignorant people in the industry. In spite of advancements made in education in recent years, there is still a considerable percentage of adults who remain unable to read and write.The Toronto Book Expo aims to bring awareness to social literacy issues such as illiteracy.

It is important to uphold high literacy levels in the community and to support those who are uneducated. A thriving society cannot be achieved if the community is not able to read their civil liberties and write down their grievances.

The major foundation of a working and dynamic society is entrenched in literature. Literature offers us an understandingof the changes being made to our community.

The event would go on for three days at three different venues. Day 1 would hold at the York University Student & Convention Centre at 15 Library Lane on March 19. Day 2 would be held at the Bram and BlumaAppel Salon Facility on the second floor of the main Toronto Reference Library near Yonge and Bloor Streets in downtown Toronto on March 21 and day 3 of the expo would take place at the internationally famous Roy Thomson Hall.

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A Week In Ottawa, ON, On A $75,300 Salary

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Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.Attention, Canadians! We’re featuring Money Diaries from across Canada on a regular basis, and we want to hear from you. Submit your Money Diary here.Today: a biologist working in government who makes $75,300 per year and spends some of her money this week on a bathing suit. Occupation: Biologist
Industry: Government
Age: 27
Location: Ottawa, ON
Salary: $75,300
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,930
Gender Identity: Woman

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Ottawa doctor pens nursery rhyme to teach proper handwashing

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An Ottawa doctor has turned to song to teach kids — and adults, for that matter — how to wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs.

Dr. Nisha Thampi, an infectious disease physician at CHEO, the area’s children’s hospital, created a video set to the tune of Frère Jacques and featuring the six-step handwashing method recommended by the World Health Organization.

Thampi’s 25-second rendition, which was co-authored by her daughter and Dr. Yves Longtin, an infectious disease specialist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, is featured in the December issue of The BMJ, or British Medical Journal. 

Thampi said as an infectious disease physician and a mother of two, she thinks a lot about germs at home and school.

“I was trying to find a fun way to remember the stuff,” she said. “There are six steps that have been codified by the World Health Organization, but they’re complex and hard to remember.” 

Thampi said she came up with the idea to rewrite the lyrics to the nursery rhyme on World Hand Hygiene Day in May, when she was thinking about how to help people remember the technique. 

She said studies have shown that handwashing is effective in reducing the risk of diarrhea-related illnesses and respiratory diseases. 

“So I’d say it’s one of the most important and easiest things we can do.”

The video includes such often-overlooked steps as “wash the back,” “twirl the tips around” and “thumb attack,” which pays special attention to the first digit.

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